Caterpillar Teachings

I took a walk today, around my rural neighbourhood. As I walked the gravel road, with pasture on my left and forest on my right, I crossed paths with a caterpillar. I stopped and watched him, just a foot or so in front of me, making his way towards the right side of the road. As I watched her, making her way over and around boulders (gravel, to my eyes), I wondered, what drives a caterpillar? He wouldn’t be able to see across the great plain of the gravel desert to the other side, and the grass and plants of the pasture (where she was coming from) were beautifully lush. What would make him leave that land in search of something new? Do caterpillars, like people, think that the grass is always greener somewhere else? 

Photo credit: Tobias Verstappen at Unsplash

Then I expanded my view, and noticed all the bodies of the caterpillars that had risked, and lost, their lives trying to do the same thing, but had presumably been run over by a car and not made it to the other side. Were they looking for something better, or just different? Were they explorers curious about the earth that they lived on and wanting to see as much of it as they could, at any cost?

Then I expanded my view once more, and saw more caterpillars, live ones this time, who were just like the first one who had caught my attention – they were crossing the gravel. Some were going from left to right, some from right to left, and some straight down the middle. I was intrigued by their determination. I observed these caterpillars all within a 10m stretch of the road, and nowhere else. I started walking again. A few seconds later, a car comes flying down the gravel road past me. I couldn’t help but stop, backtrack and go check on my new friends. Most of them were still crossing the road, one wasn’t so lucky.

From the yogic perspective, I thought about how we are all connected – the macrocosm and the microcosm. Macrocosm and microcosm refers to a vision of the cosmos where the part (microcosm) reflects the whole (macrocosm) and vice versa. I felt like a giant being able to see from a birds-eye view this small part of the caterpillars lives. They are an example of beings going about their business, doing the best they can. Just like us. 

From a shamanic perspective, which I study and incorporate into my energy healing work, the caterpillar has a spirit, just as all things (rocks, plants, animals, people, etc.) have a spirit. 

Caterpillar Spirit Medicine says that Caterpillar heralds a time of change. Boy, ain’t that the truth. A lot is changing, and has changed, for so many of us.

And Caterpillar knows that it sometimes feels like the developments and modifications for which we hope take forever in the making. So if you’ve been planning something for this year that you were hoping for, that hasn’t come to fruition, don’t let that dream go. Caterpillar is undauntedly patient. Keep your eyes firmly on the horizon and move onward, toward your dream.

In some cases, Caterpillar crawls into your awareness with good news. A very unexpected surprise is on the horizon. Give thanks and let it warm your heart and soul, giving you improved positive energy.

Thank you for your teachings, Caterpillar.

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

This mantra is recited as much for the benefits of the sound vibrations as for any specific meaning. It literally means “Om, I bow to Lord Vasudeva”.

Om is the primordial and sacred sound vibration of the universe or the essence of all creation.

Namo is a salutation, and Bhagavate is one who is becoming divine.

Vasudeva means “life in all beings”, so we are honouring ourselves and our own inner light and life when we chant this mantra.

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Shanti Om

Om Shanti Om

This chant is beautiful in its simplicity. Om is believed to be a sound of the whole cosmic manifestation. Shanti means peace. Together, this chant is about radiating peace. Peace for all humankind, peace for all living and non-living beings, peace for each and every entity in this entire universe.

We sang this chant at the last kirtan, but I’ve reworked it and feel this version is more powerful. Sing along with it and then you’ll be ready to join us for the next kirtan this Friday!

Moola Mantra

Sat Chit Ananda Parabrahma
Purushothama Paramatma
Sri Bhagavathi Sametha
Sri Bhagavathe Namaha

Hari Om Tat Sat Hari Om Tat Sat

The Moola mantra has been in my head the last few days, so it seems like the mantra meant to be in my next post. To me, without knowing yet the specifics of this chant, it feels like a lullaby to the soul. As if the Divine Mother is holding and rocking me gently, singing this song to me.

The literal meaning of this mantra is that it evokes the living God, asking protection and freedom from all sorrow and suffering. It is a prayer that adores the great creator and liberator, who out of love and compassion manifests, to protect us, in an earthly form. It has the power to transport ones mind to the state of causeless love and limitless joy. The calmness that the mantra can give is to be experienced, not just spoken about.

It is said that whenever you chant the Moola mantra, even without knowing the meaning of it, that itself carries power. But when you know the meaning and chant with that feeling in your heart then the energy will be even more powerful.

This mantra is like calling a name. Just like when you call a person she comes and you feel her presence, when you chant this mantra, the supreme energy manifests everywhere around you. As the Universe is Omnipresent, the supreme energy can manifest any where and any time.

The second part of the chant ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’ I add on because that’s how I’ve learned this chant. ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’ means ‘That is Truth’. That which I see with my eyes and that which is beyond my eyes are both the same, not different. The creator and the creation are not two. The creator has not created creation, but has manifested or transformed himself into creation.

And so I guess it makes sense that I would feel myself held and surrounded by love when I listen to or chant the Moola mantra. Because I am. And so are you. Take a listen to my version of it, here:

Moola mantra

Gayatri Mantra

Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ
Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt

This might seem like a rather complicated mantra to begin with, but it holds special meaning for me. I was living in Nanaimo, B.C. around 10 years ago, and attending a weekly yoga class there. The teacher went to India for the summer, came back and started up her classes again. But she added 15 minutes on to each of her classes so that she could share chanting with us. She would turn Deva Premal on, and we would sing along as best we could, trying to figure out how to pronounce the unusual sounds. This is the language of Sanskrit, one of the oldest known human languages, which is about 5000 years old. This was my first introduction to chanting, and the only chant I knew for many years.

There are many different translations to chants. I will share with you what I learn as I research these chants; what resonates with me most, as to what the chants mean.

The Gayatri Mantra states, “O Divine mother, our hearts are filled with darkness. Please make this darkness distant from us and promote illumination within us.”

It seems rather fitting that a chant about illumination would be my introduction to chanting. My inner light has brightened as a result of that experience 10 years ago, and has led me to a deeper understanding of myself beyond what I could have possibly imagined at the time.

I hope you enjoy it.